Maldon’s makeover powers ahead

Mount Alexander Shire mayor Cr Tony Cordy, Maldon Streetscape Steering Committee member Jan Warracke and Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards at Friday's event.

The first stage of historic Maldon’s multi-million dollar makeover is well under way, with works to move the town’s electricity underground powering ahead.
Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards visited the former mining town on Friday to officially turn the first sod on the $5.5 million dollar Maldon Streetscape Revitalisation Project.
The state government has committed $4.5 million to the three-stage project as part of its $2.7 billion Building Works package, aimed at getting Victorians back to work with shovel-ready projects that provide lasting benefits to community. Mount Alexander Shire Council is set to chip in a further $1 million.
Maldon holds the distinction of becoming Australia’s first-ever ‘notable town’ in 1966, thanks to its legacy as a 19th century mining settlement, with the streetscape works set to restore that charm.
In a break from tradition, Ms Edwards utilised cutting-edge technology – a dry suction truck with a giant vacuum apparatus – to clear away the debris.
Powercor is leading the project on behalf of council and has engaged local contractors R&R McClure Excavations to undertake the day-to-day activities.
Instead of digging open trenches, the team from McClures is utilising this state-of-the-art technology to remove the soil from the ground and into a tank to allow drilling machines to follow. This creates underground ‘burrows’ in which the new pipes and cables are installed. This approach limits the impact on historic streets, considerably reduces dust and allows the contractors to preserve underground assets, which are identified with ground-penetrating radar.
The works to move Maldon’s power underground is the first stage of the three-stage project. Stage two will see the improvement of Maldon town centre through upgrading elements such as footpaths, bins, trees, street furniture, lighting and crossovers while protecting and maintaining the essential qualities and heritage values of the area. Stage three will involve the restoration of shopfronts to preserve heritage value.
The powerline works commenced in November and are expected to take six months. Council and Powercor have coordinated the project in stages to minimise the impact on businesses during the busy lead up to Christmas and the summer season. There are no planned power outages in December.
Ms Edwards said the undergrounding of power had been an ambition of the Maldon community for more than 30 years.
“This would be the biggest investment in Maldon in some time and it is wonderful to deliver this project in partnership with council,” she said.
Ms Edwards said the project went hand in hand with the project to establish the Victorian Goldfields Railway’s headquarters in Castlemaine.
“Both projects will deliver more tourists to explore beautiful Maldon and in turn support local businesses,” she said.
Mount Alexander Shire Council mayor Cr Tony Cordy said the town was loved far and wide.
“This project will restore the public spaces and the charm of the town,” he said.
Cr Cordy thanked the Maldon community for its input into the project, in particular the Maldon Streetscape Steering Committee, heritage sub-committee and various working groups.
Heritage sub-committee member Brad Hooper said heritage was not just about protecting relics.
“We are looking at the tangible and intangible, from buildings to gutters – and even the old post and rail guards around culverts – to the vistas,” he said.
“We hope this project will be a model for other towns,” he said.
The Maldon Streetscape Revitalisation Project will create up to 17 jobs and is anticipated to be completed by 2022.